What in the world is Steampunk?

I’ve been asked that a lot lately.

As one Steampunk blogger says, Steampunkers party like it's 1899.

In regards to Steampunk books, Steampunk worlds are neo or quasi Victorian--think League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Stardust, Treasure Planet, Golden Compass. This HG Wells and Jules Vernon. Think airships, gas lamps, gears, cogs, and brass goggles. It's a world where steam and natural gas, not coal and electricity is still the primary power source, but there could still be extraordinary technology -- airships, brass robots, Victorian looking computers -- or it could be very similar to historical Victorian London.

They could take place in London, Paris, America, or even the Wild West (tho that's it's own genre, think the movie Wild Wild West). Maybe even another planet all together...

Technology may have simply evolved differently--or maybe a natural (or unnatural disaster) caused society to "regress" (tho it's less dystopian than cyberpunk, lol).

Steampunk stories can be mysteries with hard-boiled detectives, or with cozy Victorian ladies, they can be gothic, or horror, or sweet romance. They can be bodice rippers or erotic (I’ve seen steampunk erotica referred to as "steamypunk,” lol). Steampunk stories can even feature the supernatural or paranormal--corset wearing vampire hunters anyone?

It's in the setting, the language, the characters -- who could speak like Victorian ladies or fast-talking American teenagers. There's really a great opportunity to be creative and make amazing worlds ranging from gritty to opulent. Its basis is Victorian in nature, but it's also fiction so you can do incredible and imaginative things...

This is just my four cents, everyone has their own interpretation of Steampunk.

Steampunk is also on the rise. There are steampunk books already published. Steampunkers are invading cons, there are even cons of their own and Steampunk tracks (and balls, bands, and other things). Apparently it also has a big following in "second life."

It’s worth checking out if you’re curious.

A few of my favorite Steampunk links are Brass Goggles for links, how-to’s, and even a steampunk name generator. Girl Genius Online Comic featuring adventure, romance, and mad science. The Steampunk Workshop Steampunk is touted as the cross-section between romance and technology—sustainable rebellion. My favorite link for neat steampunk sketches and clothing Steampunk Couture. Lastly, Steampunk Magazine, putting the punk back in Steampunk.

Steampunk writer Kim Lenox is over on author TJ Bennett’s blog this week. Go over, say hello, and maybe you’ll win a prize.


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